Marcus Ali was born in Toronto to Trinidadian parents who loved great music. A versatile musician who is equally at home in a wide range of genres, he has played on more than seventy albums on a variety of woodwinds (saxophones, flutes, clarinets, West African flutes, tin whistles). He has performed, toured and recorded with dozens of artists including Grand Prix de Jazz award winner Nick Ali and Cruzao, Juno nominees Matt Dusk, Jason Wilson, Mr Something Something, and Tomson Highway. He has toured extensively across Canada as well as throughout the U.S., the U.K., the Caribbean and Japan.
Actor, storyteller, and activist, Cherish Violet Blood is a proud Blackfoot woman who hails from the Kainai Nation, or Blood Tribe Reserve #148 in Treaty 7 territory located in southern Alberta. Currently residing in Toronto, Ontario, Cherish is a professionally trained and well recognized performing artist with active followings in the national Indigenous and international theatre communities. Cherish has performed all over North America, Australia, New Zealand, and Scotland.
Select credits include creator/performer in Material Witness (Spiderwoman Theatre La Mama, NYC), creator/performer in Making Treaty 7 directed by Michelle Thrush in Calgary, AB. And most recently, the lead role in Deer Woman, a new play that has been touring internationally by Tara Beagan. As a natural comedian Cherish has hosted many album release parties for artists such as Iskwe, LAL, and Fiver, as well as for community events and numerous fundraisers. Cherish was recently awarded a Canadian Screen Award for Actress in a Supporting Role for Scarborough.
Patricia Cano is a Peruvian-Canadian actor and singer-songwriter born and raised in Sudbury, ON. Since 2001, she has travelled the world singing Cree Cabaret alongside Cree playwright/ author/composer extraordinaire, Tomson Highway. In 2017, Patricia won the Toronto Theatre Critics Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her performance in Cree, English and French in Highway’s one-woman musical, The (Post) Mistress. Her acting credits include memorable years spent as a member of the renowned French theatre company, Le Théâtre du Soleil, and later as a member of the NAC’s English Theatre Company.
Her solo music career was launched in 2009 with the release of her first studio album,This is the New World - a collaboration with Brazilian composer and multi-instrumentalist, Carlos Bernardo. The album won Best Album by a Solo Artist at the 2011 Northern Ontario Music and Film Awards and led to years of cross-Canada touring. In October 2017, Patricia released her much anticipated sophomore album, Madre Amiga Hermana, of which one reviewer wrote, “This is an outstanding release from a supremely talented songwriter and vocalist” (Raul Da Gama, World Music Report, Oct 2017). In 2019, Patricia won the Northern Ontario Music & Film award for Outstanding Vocal Performance on a Recording for her rendition of Violeta Parra’s “Gracias a la Vida”.
In February 2021, Patricia released a recording entitled The Love & Resistance Sessions, a four-song collaboration, crafted with love in the time of Covid, with multi-instrumentalist and composer Louis Simão. Most recently, Patricia voiced the audiobook for Tomson Highway’s Kiss of the Fur Queen for Penguin Random House released in June 2021, and performed in Zaagidiwin for Luminato 2021. In Spring of this year, Tomson Highway released his new Cree Country studio album on which Patricia sings all songs in Cree. What a [joyful] honour it is, indeed
Discovery is the beauty of music. It reveals itself in layers. Such is the evolution of Celeigh Cardinal. With a confident voice and boundless energy, Cardinal owns a stage, connecting deeply with her audience through humour, passion and love. In 2020, Cardinal achieved one of Canada’s highest musical accolades, a JUNO Award for Indigenous Artist of the Year. She also received two Western Canadian Music Award nominations, including Indigenous Artist of the Year and Songwriter of the Year. With two full-length albums completed and a future release in the works, Celeigh’s voice is quickly becoming one of the great Canadian voices that make up the fabric of the Canadian music scene.
Gary Farmer is an actor and musician, having received three Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male in films Powwow Highway (1989), Dead Man (1995), and Smoke Signals (1998). In his career spanning over four decades, Farmer originated the role of Zachary Jeremiah Keecheegeshik in the original production of Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing for Theatre Passe Muraille, Native Earth Performing Arts and eventually the Royal Alexander Theatre all in Toronto 1989-90. Recent credits include series regular on Resident Alien for NBC Universal/SyFy Network, Reservation Dogs for FX/Hulu, The English for BBC/Amazon (September 2022).
Mezzo-soprano Michelle Lafferty is a First Nations Indigenous woman from the Northwest Territories and graduated in 2019 from The University of Western Ontario with her Master’s in Literature and Performance. She continues to work with the Classical Indigenous Musicians Gathering curated by The Banff Centre for the Performing Arts and ongoing work with Calgary Opera in the new opera lab creation Namwayut with dramaturge Marion Newman. She has worked in the improvised project Understory led by team Parmela Attariwala, Germaine Liua and Nicole Ramperaud. She received her first Dora award for her work in Sound Streams’ Pimooteewin/Gallabartnit as best choral ensemble.
Cheri Maracle, (Mohawk/Irish), is a Multi-Award Nominated Actor/Singer/Songwriter from the Six Nations of the Grand River, Ontario. She has performed on stages across Turtle Island and abroad in the last 25 years.
Cheri has numerous stage, film and tv credits to her name. Some of which include: UNSETTLED (APTN,TVO), The Coroner (CBC), The Parker Andersons (Marble Media), Tribal (APTN), DeGrassi (Netflix, Epitome), and Murdoch Mysteries (CBC). Cheri has appeared in stage productions: The Unnatural and Accidental Women (National Arts Centre), The Rez Sisters (Belfry Theatre), Ernestine Shuswap Gets Her Trout (WCTC), and The Road to Paradise (Crow’s Theatre), to name a few. Upcoming Cheri will perform her one person show Paddle Song at the Firehall Theatre in Vancouver. Cheri’s music can be found on iTunes. Cheri is pleased to be at the NAC, once more, to celebrate Monsieur Highway!!Read full NAC bio ›
At the crossroads of theatre, performance and media arts, Émilie Monnet’s work is most often presented in the form of interdisciplinary theatre or performative installations. Her artistic approach favors collaborative and multilingual creative processes, and explores the themes of identity, memory, history and transformation. A committed interdisciplinary artist, in 2011 she founded Onishka Productions in order to forge links between artists from different cultures and disciplines. Artist in Residence at the Centre du Théâtre d’Aujourd’hui from 2018 to 2021, she is now the artist in residence at Espace GO for the next three years.
Most recently, she presented her play Okinum at the Centaur Theater and at the National Arts Centre, and her new creation Marguerite: le feu will be produced next spring. Émilie is Algonquin/French and currently lives between the Outaouais and Tiohtià: ke / Mooniyaang / Montréal.
Andrina Turenne is a Red River Métis/Franco-Manitoban artist from St-Boniface, Manitoba. Her love of music first sparked around campfires, where she learned to sing and harmonise with relatives and friends as a young child. A singer, songwriter and musician, she has worked in the music industry for over 20 years. She has contributed to nearly 50 albums, has performed on stages across five continents and has been featured on TV and radio in Canada and internationally. Formerly of JUNO award-winning group Chic Gamine, Andrina Turenne has been gaining momentum as a solo artist since 2016. Her music has also found its way to the world of theatre: She composed original music for Gabriel Dumont’s Wild West Show and toured with acclaimed playwright, author and concert pianist Tomson Highway. The singer was invited to participate in the installation ceremony for Canada’s first Indigenous Governor General, Mary Simon, in July of 2021. Her performance of “En plein coeur mai”, a co-written song about the Métis resistance at Batoche, was broadcast live across the country. In early 2022, with support from the Canada Council for the Arts, she undertook a four-month creative residency in Louisiana to write new music and collaborate with local artists. In Fall 2022, she will release her first solo album of original, bilingual compositions, as well as a francophone EP.
Indigenous Theatre Team
Artistic Director: Kevin Loring
Managing Director: Lori Marchand
Producer: Samantha MacDonald
Associate Producer: Sage Nokomis Wright
Indigenous Cultural Resident: Mairi Brascoupé
Education Coordinator: Kerry Corbiere
Technical Director: Spike Lyne
Communications Strategist: Danyka Ouellet
Marketing Strategist: Jenna Spagnoli
Senior Marketing Manager: Bridget Mooney
Associate Producer #ReconcileThis: Paula Chinkiwsky
Babs Aper Theatre Team
Head Carpenter: Charles Martin
Head Properties: Michel Sanscartier
Head Electrician: Eric Tessier
Assistant Electrician: Martin Racette
Head Flyman: Al Griffore
Head Sound: Doug Millar
Projectionists, Wardrobe Mistresses, Masters and Attendants are members of International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 471.
NAC Indigenous Theatre is a member of the Professional Association of Canadian Theatres and engages professional Artists who are members of Canadian Actors’ Equity Association under the terms of the jointly negotiated Canadian Theatre Agreement.